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A $263,000 solar-powered car goes into production this year

A $263,000 solar-powered car goes into production this year

With a top speed of only 100 miles per hour, this two hundred thousand dollar car will have you eating the dust of other luxury vehicles. For example, a comparably priced Ferrari F-8 can go more than twice as fast.

But that’s not the point. Does the Ferrari F8 have battery-rechargeable solar panels? No. The new $263,000 Lightyear 0 will, and its parent company of the same name says deliveries will begin this year.

Driving off grid

An electric vehicle (EV) that can recharge itself by driving around or just sitting in the sun is all about efficiency over speed and power. Lightyear, the Dutch company behind the Lightyear 0, says someone who commutes 21 miles or less every day can drive for months without having to plug in their car to charge. The company has driven the car more than 430 miles on a single charge of a 60-kilowatt-hour battery (a Tesla Model S with a 100-kilowatt-hour battery will get 348 to 402 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency).

If that wasn’t environmentally conscious enough to have you singing kumbaya in a circle, the Lightspeed 0 is made from 100% vegan materials, including vegetable leather and fabrics made from recycled plastic bottles. But the star of the show, of course, remains the five square feet of outdoor solar panels, which Lightyear says make their vehicle more environmentally friendly than other EVs:

  • “Electric cars are a step in the right direction, but they depend on the grid, which still relies mainly on fossil energy,” said CEO Lex Hoefsloot at a launch event. According to statistics hub OurWorldInData, in 2019, 63% of global electricity came from fossil fuels.
  • EV batteries require mining raw materials such as cobalt and lithium, which are very energy intensive. According to researchers at the University of Cambridge, producing electric vehicles leads to 40% more emissions than producing cars on gas. The Lightyear could compensate for that difference faster than other electric vehicles.

Solar luxury: But $263,000† For now, the light-year is a niche solar product for people who could probably afford to take a Richard Branson-led trip to the moon. But the company plans to launch a model in late 2024 or early 2025 priced around $31,000, so you’ll just have to wait.

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